picture of Ko Olina Beach with sand and umbrella

If a Hawaii vacation is on your list of trips to take soon, you’re probably in need of a packing list for Hawaii. Well, I have you covered with this post as it’s the perfect packing list for Hawaii for families.

My family loves visiting the Hawaiian Islands for vacation so much that we try to go once a year. We have been to all four of the major islands, and so many times in fact that I have my Hawaii packing checklist down to a science.

If I could only tell you three things to bring, they would include swimsuits (several of them), an Aloha shirt or dress, and any gear you need for the beach or hiking. It is very casual, even in more formal settings. But there are a few more things I would recommend.

Hawaii is different than other beach destinations in that it is a place where you need to pack for the beach, adventures like snorkeling, horseback riding, and hiking, and of course, your favorite Aloha shirt or dress. Both work great for a luau or for going out for dinner, or even for a wedding!

We have visited Hawaii over 15 times, and in fact go almost every year (usually to at least two islands each trip.) So, I’m often asked for my recommendations for Hawaii essentials or what to pack for Hawaii Big Island, Maui, Kauai, or Oahu. While there might be a few variations of Hawaii essentials depending on which Hawaiian island you are visiting with kids, many of the items are the same.

You can use this blog post, or sign up for my free printable Hawaii essentials packing list so you can have this helpful checklist at your finger tips. This Hawaii packing list will ensure you don’t forget a thing when you pack for Hawaii travel with kids.

This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a commission at no cost to you should you make a purchase using this link. See my disclosures. Cover photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

Diamong Head in distance from Sheraton pool area
View of Diamond Head on Oahu. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

About My Hawaii Packing List For Families

One of the things that make each of Hawaiian islands so special is the range of activities. With rainforest, ocean, and volcanic landscape, as well as cultural experiences, you can do so many different things like waterfall hikes, water activities, beach days, evening luaus, snorkeling, horseback riding, and other outdoor activities. These activities and the ages of your kids may influence the Hawaii essentials you need to pack.

Each of the islands are very different and have something unique to offer. For example, the Big Island has great hikes around Volcanoes National Park and in other areas of the big island. Maui, Oahu, and Kauai also have great hikes and activities like waterfall swimming, snorkeling, fishing, surfing, scuba diving, shopping, dining, and exploring.

We spend a lot of time bonding, playing in the sand, doing water sports, visiting the historic and sacred sites, and the many other fun kid-friendly activities unique to Hawaii. So, our Hawaii essentials packing list has a lot of “extras” that we like to bring for these activities.

But I know it can be tricky to know what to bring with you. Whether you’re visiting Aulani, the Disney resort, staying in a hotel in Maui or Oahu, or a VRBO on the Big Island or in Kauai, you can use this list as a guideline for your Hawaii essentials packing list.

Things to Pack for Hawaii – Tips for Packing Your Carry-On

Because your Hawaiian hotel will likely not be ready on your arrival day, and you will have a long journey to get the the island, you want to have a few things in your carry-on. Here are some tips for packing your carry-on bag on your Hawaii travel day.

image of Hawaiian airline plane on the tarmac
Check rules for checking bags on your flight to Hawaii. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

Beware of the Checked Bag Rules for Your Airline

A Hawaiian vacation can be a little more expensive than other trips no matter what Hawaiian island you choose, and one way to save money is to travel only with a carry-on. If you are able to book a resort with laundry, it can save space, allow for having more empty space in your suitcase and save you money on checking bags to travel on a budget.

But for many, that is not possible. Just be sure to check out your airline’s carry-on bag policies when you’re considering the Hawaii essentials to bring.

Be prepared to pay to check in your bags for most airlines and understand that not all airlines let you bring your carry-on with you for free.

It is worth noting that Southwest is the only airline that doesn’t charge you for checked bags on their domestic flights to Hawaii.

Some airlines let you bring a suitcase on the plane with you if it is small enough, and some do give free checked bags depending on your airline status.

hand holding coconut in Hawaii
Coconut in Hawaii. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

Important Note About Traveling To Hawaii

Because Hawaii is an island, certain plants and foods are prohibited because they could introduce invasive species to the island. If you plan to travel with a pet, you should check Hawaii’s guidlines on this. So even though it is part of the United States, there are rules you must follow that are different than flying within the Mainland USA.

Note TSA Requirements for checked bags

When you visit Hawaii, one thing you need to worry about with packing for Hawaii is packing liquids. You can’t bring larger bottles of anything liquid like sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, etc., in your carry-on.

If you need bigger bottles for the whole family, consider combining the things you can’t bring in your carry-on into your checked bags when you pack for Hawaii. You can also order groceries to your room when you visit the Big Island, Maui, Oahu or Kauai (not so much on Lanai or Molokai) which is why these are the best Hawaiian islands for kids.

We do this each time we go to Hawaii. There are grocery stores (typically Safeway or the ABC Stores – if you have a Safeway Card, bring it with you), Costcos (remember your Costco Card!) and even Walmarts!

catamarin sailing off toward diamond head
Be sure to have a swimsuit in your carry-on for check in day. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

Other Things for your carry-on

I like to bring trial-sized bottles in my carry-on in case your suitcases get lost. Having been there before, I learned this the hard way.

I also recommend a change of clothes, medicines, contacts, glasses, your important documents (like reservation numbers, travel insurance information, rental car details, etc.), and anything else you need for an overnight stay in case something happens to your luggage during your Hawaii travel. This is also important if you plan to visit more than one island during your Hawaii travel.

Hawaii Vacation Packing List – Essential Items for Hawaii Travel With Kids

I wanted to talk first about the important things you need to pack for your Hawaii vacation. Things like comfortable clothing and shoes are a must, and you’ll need several other essentials. Hawaii travel is different than many other vacations, so definitely take note of some of these items you’ll need.

Packing Cubes

My “do not leave home without” item is packing cubes. Because we pack a lot of different types of items for Hawaii, I love packing cubes to not just compress my clothing and fit more in my suitcase. But it also keeps things organized both inside the suitcase and in the drawers of the hotel.

You don’t even have to unpack from the packing cubes! When traveling with kids, often there isn’t enough drawer or closet space for everyones’ clothes. So packing cubes can keep things organized in the drawers.

Pro Tip

Use a different color packing cube set for each person – that way everyone will know which items belong to which person in the drawers!

Water Shoes

Much of your vacation will probably be spent in or near the water so consider this when you pack for Hawaii. In fact, water shoes is a must-have in my suitcase.

You’ll likely go to the beach, participate in fun water activities like waterfalls and hiking, and visit the rainforest, so you’ll need watershoes with a good tread. You also need flip-flops or crocks.

Hiking shoes are perfect for the more intensive hikes. But if you plan to swim in waterfalls, I recommend water shoes in the rainforest as they protect you more from lava rock more than flip flops do. Lava rock is slippery and sharp and can cut you so these shoes are essential on a Hawaiian vacation.

Dry Bag 

If you plan to go on a boat or do any water sports, a dry bag is essential. It keeps your clothing and other items dry in case of waves on the boat or you accidentally drop your bag in the water. We regularly take a snorkel trip or scuba diving trip, especially in Maui (it’s one of our favorite things to do with kids in Maui.)

It can also be very handy at the beach so add a dry beach bag in to your suitcase when you pack for Hawaii. It’s better than using single use plastic bags.

Wet Bag

In addition to a dry bag, I like to bring a wet bag. If you spend a beach day or swim in some of the famous waterfalls on a day of adventure, but want to change your clothes, you need a place to store your wet clothes. A wet bag is perfect for this purpose so we always throw one in our suitcases.

Beach Bag 

Since this is a beach vacation, you’ll likely have plenty of pool and beach time, so you want a beach bag to carry all your beach necessities like a sand-resistant beach towel, reef-safe sunscreen, cover-up, vacation reading, etc.

Now, if you have read my post on the best beach bags for moms, you’ll know I am a HUGE fan of the gorgeous Aloha bags. Not only are they thematic for your Hawiian vacation, but they are waterproof, very spacious, and can double as a day bag/purse for your daily excurisons.

My other favorite beach bag is Wild Ride. I love it because it folds down to a very small size so it fits easily in a suitcase. The carry case can double as a wet bag. It’s roomy, sandproof, waterproof and works as both a shoulder bag and a crossbody bag. Best part is that this company is mom owned and I love to support mom entrepreneurs!

Keep a beach bag packed with all the essentials like towels, sunblock, book, sunglasses, and beach attire. You may also want to bring a day pack for Hawaii in case of more active adventures. Wearing it on your back can free up your arms, especially if you are visiting waterfalls on the Big Island or Maui, where the ground can be a bit uneven.

Reef Safe Sunblock

Reef-safe sunscreen is incredibly important as regular sunblock contains harmful chemicals that can damage the gorgeous Hawaiian coral reefs everyone comes to Hawaii to see. Not all sunscreen is reef safe. So be sure to check the label.

Because you will be spending time in the Hawaiian sun, and swimming in the ocean, having reef safe sunscreen is critical. Reef safe sunscreen and it is the only kind of sun protection with reef safe sunscreen available for purchase on the island. Protecting the wildlife and coral is part of being a responsible visitor during your Hawaii travel. Be sure to shop specifically for reef-safe sunscreen.

Sun Hat and Pair of Sunglasses

A sun hat and sunglasses are essential items to add to your Hawaii vacation packing list. They’ll protect you from the damaging rays of the sun so every family member should wear them, and trust me – you’ll need them in Hawaii!

Reusable Water Bottles

Add a reusable water bottle for every family member to your Hawaii packing list, or water bottle, so you always have water on hand.

Hawaii can be hot so you need to stay hydrated and buying bottled water is more expensive than a reusable water bottle (especially in Hawaii!) Our family brings it as one of our essential items in our kids’ carryons but it is also great for the pool, beach and day trips. Most resorts will have refilling stations on property.

Hawaiian tap water is safe to drink, so you can fill up your water bottle or refillable water bottle every day before you leave the hotel.

Collapsible Cooler

Collapsible coolers are great because they fold down to make them easy to pack, and they are ultra-convenient. They’re perfect for packing a picnic lunch for a beach day or family hike in Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. They can also help keep drinks cold at the beach.

As we typically stay in a resort with a kitchen, we like to make sandwiches to bring to the pool and beach. It’s another way to save money on your Hawaiian vacation.

Turkish Towel

Turkish towels are one of my favorite things to bring on a Hawaiian vacation. They are a sand resistant beach towel made from 100 percent Turkish cotton and are known for their super absorbency. They dry easily, are not bulky (so you can bring them with you on day trips), and they can double as a blanket if you are freezing cold after waterfall swimming or on a cooler night in Hawaii.

If you plan on doing water activities or swimming, a Turkish bath towel is a perfect thing to dry off with so you can be off to your next adventure. They are also lightweight and quick-drying, which is handy on a beach vacation.

Waterproof Phone Case

A waterproof phone case is essential if you plan on bringing your phone to the beach, hiking near waterfalls or in the rainforest, or taking boat tours.

You don’t want to damage an expensive smartphone on vacation so get a waterproof phone case when you pack for Hawaii.

You can also use your camera to take pictures underwater in salt water in case you don’t have an underwater camera though I don’t recommend that.

Rash Guard

A rash guard or rash vest is perfect for beach days and water activities. They were originally made for surfers to protect them against rashes from sandy surfboards or wetsuits that chafe but are perfect for other water sports.

So, if you plan on doing water sports, add a rash guard to your suitcase when you pack for Hawaii.

Snorkel Set

Many people plan on snorkeling when they visit Hawaii. So add a snorkel set to your Hawaii packing list if you plan on snorkeling around the coral reefs or anywhere else.

My favorite brand for kids and adults is Cressi. Sometimes the ones you buy in souvenir shops are kind of junky and don’t work very well. Cressi is an Italian brand and their sets are high quality. In fact I use mine for scuba diving and it’s the only brand I will use.

These sets come with a snorkel mask and snorkel that are essential to protect your eyes and for breathing underwater but still seeing the beautiful tropical fish. You can also use swim goggles but a snorkel mask is best.

Proper Water Camera

If you’re going to the coral reefs or want to take any underwater pictures, a water camera like a Go-Pro is much better than using your smartphone. Even with a waterproof waterproof phone case on, your own waterproof phone case can get damaged, and waterproof cameras were created specifically for taking pictures underwater.

Given how clear the water is, you will definitely want to get some underwater photos if you snorkel in Molokini Crater or on Kapalua on Maui or Hanauma Bay on Oahu. The Big Island also has options for snorkeling near dolphins and Kauai’s Napali Coast is known for snorkeling.

If you plan on also taking photos and underwater images, and you definitely will want some underwater photos, add a waterproof camera when you pack for Hawaii.

Body Glide 

Body glide products prevent rashes, chafing, blisters, and skin irritation, and they glide right on your skin.

These products are invisible and not oily as well as safe and gentle for kids. They are a must-have for sandy water sports so be sure to add them when you pack for Hawaii. 

Hiking Pack

If your family plans on hiking some of the trails in Hawaii’s national parks, a hiking pack or day pack is an essential item to add to your Hawaii packing list. We throw one in even as a day bag on one of our exploring days.

You will also want to bring closed-toe shoes for your Hawaii travel, especially if you plan to do any of the Big Island hikes in Volcanoes National Park.

Choose a small bag to hold the essential gear you need for short hikes and add it to your suitcase when you pack for Hawaii. Osprey makes a great hiking pack (it’s the one I use) that’s a good investment for people who hike short trails often so you can add it to your Hawaii packing checklist.

The Big Island has great hikes, but all of the islands have wonderful hikes to do. Many of them are also kid-friendly in Kauai and on the big island of Oahu.

Hawaiian Dress or Aloha Shirt

You can’t go to Hawaii and not attend a luau. You’ll need a nice Hawaiian dress or Aloha shirt for nice dinners or luaus. Ladies wear an aloha dress or something light and sandals.

If you forget one, don’t worry. The local ABC stores sell them as do many of the local shopping centers. If you would like a fancier brand, Tommy Bahama is our favorite for higher quality Aloha style.

Dressy Sandals

You’ll need a nice pair of sandals to go with your Hawaiian dress or Aloha shirt for luaus and nice dinners so make sure to add them to your list when you pack for Hawaii.

Flip Flops

Since Hawaii has such nice weather, flip-flops are the perfect shoes for sightseeing, shopping, and going out to eat.

My favorite sandals are OluKais because they are well made and very comfortable so I always add them to my suitcase when I pack for Hawaii.

Dressy Shorts and Tops

Along with your comfortable everyday clothes, you’ll want to add some dressy tops and shorts for activities that require nicer attire like dinners out or seeing a show.

When you pack for Hawaii just make sure to consider how often you’ll be going out for nicer dinners or activities.

Swimsuits/Cover Ups 

You’ll likely go swimming a lot on your Hawaiian trip so swimsuits make the list of Hawaii essentials to bring. You’ll want to bring several swimsuits and cover-ups to wear around your hotel or the beach when you pack for Hawaii.

Since bathing suits and cover-ups can take time to dry, add several swimsuits and a cover up of each to your Hawaii packing list, so you always have a dry suit to wear.

Bug Spray

Like any other tropical vacation, you’ll encounter bugs at some point on your Hawaii travel, especially when hiking. Parts of Hawaii (like on Maui’s Road To Hana) you’ll find rain forest so you will have some bugs. So, when you pack beach bag for Hawaii, add bug spray to your Hawaii packing list to protect yourself from bug bites. We throw bug spray in with our sunscreen bag to have just in case.

Portable Phone Charger

You are going to want to take a lot of photos and videos because Hawaii travel is so unique and special. Also, cell service is limited in some areas which will drain your phone battery fast. So be sure to bring a portable phone charger.

I also like the solar powered phone chargers. Because you may be hiking, especially if you are traveling on the Big Island, having hiking essentials is critical. Having a solar powered portable phone charger will help especially if you are doing any Hawaii travel adventures that last a full day and your portable runs out.

Beach Toys

When our kids were little, I confess we traveled with beach toys in our extra duffle bag that collected random packing essentials. But, you can purchase these at the grocery stores or ABC Stores in Hawaii. So you don’t really need to travel with these.

Also, because most people don’t travel home with floaties, boogie boards, and beach toys, often you’ll find families leaving these for other families to enjoy at the Resorts. This has definitely been true at our Maui hotel year after year. So you can bring a couple if you like but you can also get them there if you want to save suitcase space.

Top Tips for Your Hawaii Vacation Packing List

Here are some helpful tips for packing light for your trip to Hawaii.

umbrellas in maui on beach in front of ocean
Maui mainly has two seasons – summer and winter. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

1. Think of the Time of Year 

While Hawaii is warm most of the year, it is slightly cooler in the winter, so you’ll want to pack accordingly. It can also get quite windy. Pack a light rain jacket and some long-sleeve shirts or sweaters so you can add or take off layers as the temperature changes throughout the day. Also a good pair of water shoes are good if you are there during rainy season.

Waimea Falls and people swimming in it
We love swimming in the sacred Waimea Fall. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

2.  Keep All the Activities You Plan to Do in Mind When Packing

You and your family probably have a lot of Hawaiian activities planned like hiking, snorkeling, diving, going to the beach, attending a luau, and more. Hawaii travel is active! Keep these activities in mind when you’re packing, and make sure to add the equipment you need to your Hawaii packing list. If you plan to go surfing (the North Shore of Oahu is known for its surfing) or paddle boarding, often these items can be rented.

lobby of aulani hotel
Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa on Oahu, has rooms with kitchens and kitchenettes. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

3.  You Can Get Groceries Delivered to Your Hotel or Vacation Rental

Just like at home, you can get groceries delivered to your VRBO rental car or hotel. Getting them delivered saves you time, but you can also stop by Costco or Safeway. Just make sure you bring your cards for these stores.

family taking a ukulele lesson in Hawaii
A Ukulele lesson was fun and educational for my kids. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

4. Pack an “extra” bag to bring anything that won’t fit in your suitcase

Ok, I know I said pack light. But our family always brings a duffle bag where we pack the stuff that can’t fit in your suitcase. It’s not the most streamlined but it works for us. We put in it sand toys, life jackets, balls (my kids travel with a soccer ball everywhere we go,) extras like sunscreen, etc. The best part is when we return home, we can throw extra souvenirs in here or even dirty laundry!

view from hotel room
You should have a few essentials in your Hawaii packing list for your hotel room or home rental. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

Essential Items for Your Vacation Rental or Hotel Room

Here is a packing checklist for the items you need for your hotel room or VRBO rental. There are grocery stores and we often make it our first stop when we are visiting Maui or the Big Island. But this is a great way to save money for your Hawaii travel with kids and keep your family travel on a budget.

  • Your Safeway or Costco Card for groceries – Hawaii is expensive, and this can save you a lot of money! You can also baby and toddler needs like diapers, baby formula, baby food, wipes, etc. when you get there or have an Amazon package sent to your hotel with these items.
  • Snacks/Ziploc Bags – helps for taking sandwiches to the pool or beach
  • Clothespins and a clothesline for hanging things to dry
  • Laundry Detergent – many resorts and hotels have laundry services, but if you rent an Airbnb or VRBO, you’ll want laundry detergent to wash clothes.
  • Coffee, Tea, Coffee filters, and Seasoning Essentials – Since Hawaii is expensive, you can save money by bringing these things for your hotel room or vacation rental. We bring these on every vacation – it’s a good thing to throw in your bonus duffle bag!
  • Protein Snacks – These are my favorite protein bars, and go with me on every hiking adventure and make great pool snacks. My road trip food list also has great portable snacks that also make for easy plane, pool and beach snacks too!
  • Extra Bag for Souvenirs (you will want to bring a lot home!) This is why I recommend packing light so there is extra space in your suitcase or bring an extra duffle where you can throw random items and souvenirs in for the flight home.
  • Portable speaker (great for enjoying time by the pool or in your room. My family loves this compact one with great sound quality.)

family at Kualoa Ranch
Kualoa Ranch has so much for families to do. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

Hawaii Trip Essentials- Clothes

Add these clothes to your Hawaii packing list for families:

  • Swimsuits (2)
  • Swimsuit cover-ups (2)
  • Rash Guard
  • Outfits for tours (like shorts and a top or a sundress) (1-2)
  • Nicer outfit/dress for fancy dinners or nights out in Honolulu
  • Sports bras
  • Beach sandals
  • Water shoes and flip flops
  • Swim shirts and suits with UV protection
  • Tech t-shirts or quick-dry shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Athletic clothes for hiking trails (1 or more outfits)
  • Cardigans, light jackets, or pull-overs for an extra layer (the wind and rain can make the temperature several degrees cooler)
  • Hiking boots (Hawaii is muddy!)
  • Rain poncho or rain jacket – or both!
  • Hat for the rain and sun
  • Hiking sandals or hiking shoes
  • Athletic shoes/Athletic clothes for exercise
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Lightweight Rain jacket
  • Light jacket
  • Sweatshirt
  • Pants

If you don’t have a Hawaiian shirt to pack, don’t worry. Hawaiian shirts are available for purchase at many local shops. It is very common to see them being worn in businesses, at luaus, and other formal events and informal dinners.

Hanalei Beach, three kids in front of Hawaii sign with surf board
Hanalei Beach, Kauai, Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

Toiletries and Other Necessary Supplies

These are the toiletries and other necessary supplies to add to your Hawaii packing list:

  • Bug spray and reef-safe sunblock
  • Shampoo and conditioner – but many resorts and hotels carry some of these items to make your travel days easier
  • Leave in conditioner – sea and pool water are hard on your hair
  • Face and body wash/moisturizer
  • Lip balm
  • First Aid Kit
  • Medicines (especially motion sickness medicines, kids’ medicines, adult medicines)
  • Baby Shampoo (for defogging snorkel masks)
  • Diapers (swim diapers and regular diapers)
  • Wipes
  • Toiletry items for babies/toddlers
  • Body Glide
kids doing activities at Hawaiian luau
Remember your Aloha shirts and dresses for dinners out and a luau. PHoto credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

Essential Miscellaneous Items

These are some essential miscellaneous items to add to your Hawaii packing list.

Some of these items may seem unnecessary, but I promise as someone who has packed for many vacations, these items are very helpful.

  • Floaties or a life jacket for kids if they can’t swim yet
  • Snorkel Set
  • Turkish Towel
  • Portable phone charger andpower bank
  • Backpack for hiking
  • Beach tote for beach gear
  • Underwater Camera/Float Attachment or flotation strap
  • Hiking poles (seriously, the mud is no joke!)
  • Backpack for holding everything (I have one as my carryon)
  • A small wristlet or clutch that can hold your keys, cell phone, at least one credit card, and hotel keycard (you can event get one with a flotation strap)
  • Packing cubes– Packing cubes can be really helpful to make sure you stay organized and save space.
  • Reusable water bottle for each family member
  • Baby Food, Formula
  • Snacks/ziplocks
  • Maps
  • Documents
  • Travel Insurance Info
  • Activity Packs (to keep kids busy on the plane and in the hotel room)
  • Books
  • Electronics (computers, ipads)
  • Chargers for all electronics
  • Costco or Safeway Cards
  • Turkish Towel
  • Portable Speaker
  • Coffee/Tea/Coffee Filters
  • Laundry Detergent Pods or Travel Size
  • Clothes Pins
  • Extra Bag for Souvenirs
  • Beach Toys
kids surfing Kaanapaali
Kids surfing in Kaanapaali, photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

What NOT To Pack for Hawaii

Honestly, keep your high heels at home. Hawaii is a casual place and typically, Aloha shirts are common for beach attire, even for formal events. You can wear sandals or even flip flops. Also don’t forget the water shoes.

If you are attending a wedding and you really want resort wear high heels, bring them. But for luaus and dining, sandals, resort wear and evening wear is completely suitable. I can’t stress enough that you want to pack for what you need, but pack light, expecially if you are island hopping.

Gold Cart on Oahu Golf Course
You can rent golf gear in Hawaii. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

You don’t need to pack baby gear, surf boards or even golf clubs as all of these items can be rented. It is possible to rent snorkel gear too, but I prefer to bring my own snorkel and mask. But most activities provide you what you need in Hawaii, or you can rent the items.

And trust me, you are going to want to bring home some great souvenirs. I have some suggestions for my favorites in my list of the best things to do on Oahu with kids.

One thing to note, however, is you can’t bring fresh fruits, vegetables or plants home from Hawaii with a couple of exceptions. You may find that some places that sell pineapples have it packaged in a way to ship to your home or so that it is permitted additional carry on on a Hawaiian Airlines flight.

See below for some things you cannot bring to Hawaii.


What should I pack for a week in Hawaii?

Your Hawaii packing list should include the essential clothing items you need for 7 days with a few dressy outfits for dinners and luaus including:

  • Swimsuits (2)
  • Swimsuit cover-ups (2)
  • Outfits for tours (like shorts and a top or a sundress) (1-2)
  • Nicer outfit/dress for fancy dinners or nights out in Honolulu
  • Sports bras
  • Beach sandals
  • Water shoes
  • Swim shirts and suits with UV protection
  • Tech t-shirts or quick-dry shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Athletic clothes for hiking trails (1 or more outfits)
  • Cardigans, light jackets, or pull-overs for extra layers
  • Hiking boots 
  • Rain poncho or rain jacket
  • Hat for the rain and sun
  • Hiking sandals or hiking shoes
  • Athletic shoes/Athletic clothes for exercise
  • Sun hat
  • Lightweight Rain jacket
  • Light jacket
  • Sweatshirt
  • Pants

Don’t forget the essential things you need for activities like your snorkel gear, sets, hiking packs, and more.

bamboo forest at twin falls in maui
Bamboo forest near Twin Falls on Maui! Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids, LLC

What should I pack for 10 days in Hawaii?

You’ll need more Hawaii essentials on a 10-day trip to the islands. That means you’ll need to pack a couple more of each of the essential items that you would bring for a 7-day trip. Add the following items to your Hawaii packing list for 10 days:

  • Swimsuits (3)
  • Swimsuit cover-ups (3)
  • Rash Guard
  • Outfits for tours (like shorts and a top or a sundress) (3)
  • Nicer outfit/dress for fancy dinners or nights out in Honolulu
  • Sports bras
  • Beach sandals
  • Water shoes and flip flops
  • Swim shirts and suits with UV protection
  • Tech t-shirts or quick-dry shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Athletic clothes for hiking trails (1 or more outfits)
  • Cardigans, light jackets, or pull-overs for an extra layer (the wind and rain can make the temperature several degrees cooler)
  • Hiking boots (Hawaii is muddy!)
  • Rain poncho or rain jacket – or both!
  • Hat for the rain and sun
  • Hiking sandals or hiking shoes
  • Athletic shoes/Athletic clothes for exercise
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Lightweight Rain jacket
  • Light jacket
  • Sweatshirt
  • Pants

Be sure to add the necessities you need for the activities you plan to do on your trip to the Hawaiian islands, like snorkel sets, hiking packs, underwater cameras, and more.

family in front of volcano on Hawaii's big island
Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii, Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

What can you not bring to Hawaii?

There are some things that you can’t bring to Hawaii per the State of Hawaii Plant Industry Division.

Most of them are plants or foods like pineapple, passion fruits, and seeds, coconuts, corn on the cob, etc. You can see a full list of their website.

You’ll also find some things that you should leave at home like:

  • Beach and sand toys – you can buy these when you visit and many people leave them behind for one another. You can bring these if you like but you don’t have to as you can purchase them on the island.
  • Golf Clubs, Surfboards, and Paddle Boards – these can be rented!
  • Baby items like a swing, bouncy seat, etc. You can check out for local rental companies to bring these to most hotels or VRBO Rentals.
  • A full suitcase with no room to bring souvenirs home – definitely leave some empty space
  • A lot of valuables – if you do, leave them in the hotel safe. Hawaii is one of the worst states in the U.S. for car break-ins, so if you are renting a car, don’t leave anything of value in it.
  • Your pets
  • Illegal drugs
  • Firearms without state permits

Also, check with your hotel or VRBO to see if they have a list of things you can’t bring with you so you know what to exclude from your Hawaii packing list. Vacation rentals often have a list of Hawaii essentials to bring and things not to.

One other thing to note is you can’t or shouldn’t bring natural things home with you. For example, if you visit the Big Island, leave lava rocks there and do not bring home any seashells that may have creatures in them.

Surfing is one of the best things to do in Hawaii. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

What should I pack for 14 days in Hawaii?

These are the things you should add to your Hawaii packing list if you plan on staying for two weeks.

  • A 14-day Hawaiian vacation will require you to double the number of each essential things that you would bring for a 7-day trip.
  •  Swimsuits (4)
  • Swimsuit cover-ups (4)
  • Rash Guard
  • Outfits for tours (like shorts and a top or a sundress) (4-5)
  • Nicer outfit/dress for fancy dinners or nights out in Honolulu
  • Sports bras
  • Beach sandals
  •  Water shoes/Flip Flops
  •  Swim shirts and suits with UV protection
  • Tech t-shirts or quick-dry shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Athletic clothes for hiking trails (3 or more outfits)
  • Cardigans, light jackets, or pull-overs for extra layers
  •  Hiking boots 
  • Rain poncho or rain jacket – or both!
  • Hat for the rain and sun
  • Hiking sandals or hiking shoes
  • Athletic shoes/Athletic clothes for exercise
  • Sun hat
  • Lightweight Rain jacket
  •  Light jacket
  • Sweatshirt
  •  Pants

Add the essential items you need for the activities you plan to do on your Hawaii vacation, like snorkel gear, hiking packs, underwater cameras, and more.

One thing you need to remember is not to pack too many clothes. I know it can be when you’re packing when you feel like you need too many clothes for an extended vacation. When traveling this long, I highly recommend finding somewhere you can do laundry either at your hotel or in a laundry mat.

It’s a delicate balance of not overpacking while still bringing your Hawaii essentials.

Hawaiian luau with people on stage
A Hawaiian Luau is a must-do with kids on your visit to Oahu. Photo credit: Bon Voyage With Kids

Final Thoughts on Packing List for Hawaii

Now you know exactly what to add to your ultimate Hawaii packing list, and of course, you’ll want to tailor these items to your family. You can grab my free Hawaii packing list printable and use it like a checklist to ensure you don’t forget a thing! 

We love visiting Hawaii. And even though we go every year, we always find new things to do or places we didn’t explore the last time we visited Hawaii. That’s because there are so many things you can do that you won’t have time to do everything in one trip.

And while packing for Hawaii can feel overwhelming, I hope these packing tips help you easily plan for your Hawaiian vacation, so you have less stress and more fun! Most importantly, I hope you enjoy your perfect Hawaii vacation as much as we do whenever we go; as for many, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip. 

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